I have to remind myself not to get too obsessed in matters of health. In my experience working with clients since 1994 some of the gains you get don’t always come from the obvious places.
There are clients that lose weight cutting calories, in part because they were eating too much processed food. Others go to bed earlier, sleep better, wake up rested and have enough energy to get to the gym before their day starts and get the workout done they otherwise would have been too tired to do and as a consequence lose weight. Others work on balancing their hormones and their digestive issues go away. Conversely working on healing the gut and eliminating parasites or bacteria and stress levels reduce.
So its the same non-specific almost generalised but still personalised approach we need to think of in the wider context of building health.
We are all COVID obsessed at the moment and understandably so. Focusing on the immune system makes sense. However focussing on the immune system at the expense of the system of systems that makes us, us, would leave potential for missing the point. All the probiotics under the sun wont strengthen an immune system out of balance from excess stress if whilst we swallow the probiotics also work 16 hour days, late to bed, poor diet, no exercise, spray ourselves head to toe in deodorant, eat pasta re-heated in the microwave, only de-stress of an evening after 3 glasses of wine and spend the day shouting and falling out with a loved one.
Having said that drugs are not the only way to deal with stresses of the outside world and the challenges of viral infections. There is an antiparasitic prescription drug called Ivermectin with anti inflammatory properties that has been shown to be 89% effective as a prophylaxis in 11 studies.
There are 272 studies on hydroxychloroquine (HCG) an anti-malaria drug used in a large chunk of the world except, Australia, US and the U.K., that show early treatment results in 64% improvement.
Of course we know there are now vaccines, and I wrote about them in a previous article, and in time their benefits will be published also.
However, I like to I use lots of different tricks and tips to keep me healthy and the same applies when we look more exclusively at the immune system. The aim though is to lighten the load placed on the body and give it the tools to do the job it is designed to do. So if you cut back on the deodorant your liver doesn’t have to work as hard and it can therefore cope better with losing fat. If your liver is working less it does a better job of breaking down your stress hormones and your oxters, armpits to those not familiar with Scottish, have less foostie (again Scottish parlance) or overly metabolised hormones to release that smell, hence less need for deodorant. And so it goes on.
When it comes to the immune system the less you stress it out and the less you give it to do the better able it is to be there for you when called upon. I’m not a fan of The Germ Theory, that is behind the thinking of pharmaceutical companies in designing their products, “one disease, one germ” but “its all about the host” and The Terrain Theory also its challenges. In the most part I see Mother Nature’s police force – parasites, bacteria, fungi and viruses, as there to protect, they grow when we need them to but can overgrow when we over feed them or give them too much to do and thats when we can encounter extra and sometimes insurmountable challenges in repairing and recovering our bodies. Some scientists believe instead of going to war with our own bodies we should view the bugs we think of as bad bugs ass synergistic, they have a complimentary and supportive role in our overall health. That’s why we run stool tests and see scary bugs we also want to know that correlates to symptoms and helps explain the full picture to the issues with your health; to we go and nuke them to take the stress and then support a repair strategy or do we support the body to do that job itself and not risk damaging our delicate internal ecosystem in the process of trying to achieve better health, thats the interesting we have with each client as an individual.
Further if one branch of our immune system likes to go war all guns blazing (think cytokine storm) the other branch wants to help by reducing inflammation but if it’s shut off it’s less able. These following ideas to help your immune system fit the bill of not being cures for a disease or implying you are immune but increase your chances of not becoming infected and if you do these can in their own ways help the overall of infection and disease management process.
Cistus Incanus – Anti all bugs
This is a little flowering plant, I like mine to come from Sicily, also known as Rockrose, that has antimicrobial, antiviral and biofilm disrupting properties and helps breakdown the little protein matrix houses the bugs like to hide in, letting your immune system find them and deal with them as they see fit. Can help you reduce the overall bug count and help you from getting overloaded, think broad spectrum antibiotic, that kind of concept.
HOCl – Spray for the eyes, face and mouth
Hypochlorous acid (HOCl) is a very cheap and non-toxic chemical that helps burst open the lipid coating round viruses, that include SARS-CoV-2, and acts like a disinfectant. At the first sign of trouble, the first sniffle, or if we have been out and about somewhere different (hopefully that reads in a totally normal not OCD paranoid way?) we spray it over our faces with eyes open, in ears, up noses and inhale and a few sprays to the back of the throat. We also have a fogger to blast it in droplets round the room and if someone is coming down with the flu we use it in a nebuliser along with vitamin C and NAC (N-acetyl cysteine, antioxidant and liver support).
Nigella Seeds – Moroccan nose cleaner with a kick
I had heard of Nigella saliva to give it it’s proper name or Black Seed Oil as its more well known as an antibacterial anti inflammatory before a trip to Morocco and a visit to a herbalist that tried to sell me the shop as you would expect. However he suggested using Nigella seeds (high in antioxidants) to clear out the sinuses and to do this you place the seeds in a little breathable, muslin bag and rub them fast on your palm and the quickly inhale vapour as deep as you can into the very deepest recesses of your sinuses. Oh boy does that burn when you get it right! I do have to say you really do notice better breathing and clearer sinuses.
Much to my surprise I did find studies to support the use of these seeds and their antioxidants specifically for sinuses and although not using this exact same method did directly target the nasal passages and therefore the sinuses with the delivery.
If there are 380 TRILLION viruses actually part of the human body, known as your virome, these viruses are on the outside and inside of your body including the mouth. Viruses can enter your body via your eyes, nose and mouth so batting down the viral load in your mouth could be helpful. An interesting study looked at different mouthwashes to see if they could kill viruses impacting oral health. Only Listerine and prescription mouthwash, Chlorhexidene managed to eliminate viruses without also damaging the skin or epithelial cells lining the mouth. The cells lining your mouth are also part of your bodies defences so you don’t want to damage them if at all possible.
- Potent in vitro antiviral activity of Cistus incanusextract against HIV and Filoviruses targets viral envelope proteins. Nature. February 2016.
- Clinical and experimental effects of Nigella sativa and its constituents on respiratory and allergic disorders. PubMed. June 2019.
- Hypertonic saline nasal irrigation and gargling should be considered as a treatment option for COVID-19. Journal of Global Health. March 2020.
- Effect of Nigella sativa Nasal Spray on the Treatment of Chronic Rhinosinusitis Without a Nasal Polyp. PubMed. Dec 2018.
- Two mouthwashes disrupt COVID-19 virus under laboratory conditions. News Medical. March 2021.
- How many viruses live in the human body? Inverse. October 2018.